The Loch Ness Monster, otherwise known as Nessie, is famous worldwide, but the Loch Ness is more than just a myth. In fact, at 23 miles long and almost 800 feet deep it is the second largest lake in Scotland, and contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined!
Having missed out on a visit to Loch Ness on our previous trip to the Highlands, this time we decided to make it a priority. I was excited to discover that beyond the search for an elusive monster we would also have the opportunity to explore the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle, located on the shores of the lake. So, even if searching for the ever elusive Nessie isn’t on your list of things to do a visit to Loch Ness should be!
Though it can’t hurt to keep your eyes open. Just in case…
If it is the search for Nessie that brings you to Loch Ness you might like to visit Nessieland or The Loch Ness Exhibition, which are both located nearby in the little town of Drumnadrochit. We poked around the gift shops of both, but ultimately decided these exhibitions weren’t for us. However, the idea of a boat ride was appealing, and since it wasn’t raining…
There are many boat companies to choose from, but we hadn’t done our homework, so went with the easy one at the Loch Ness Exhibition, after all our car was already parked there!
Thankfully, these weren’t the boats we were going on, or I may have changed my mind!
Here’s our boat!
The hour long ride turned out perfectly. While some of the tour was spent “looking” for Nessie using the boat’s deep scan radar equipment, most of it was spent enjoying the beauty of our surroundings while learning about the history of both the area and legend. With room for only 12 passengers the boat wasn’t large, but it was comfortable and we had many photo opportunities.
Toward the end of the ride the boys were given the opportunity to drive the boat!
Exploring the ruins of Urquhart Castle
Though Urquhart Castle was reduced to ruins in 1692, its advantageous position overlooking and surrounded by the Loch Ness on three sides, and it’s incredible storied history dating back to before the times of Robert the Bruce, make it a popular and very worthwhile tourist destination. I highly suggest stopping in the visitors center to watch the short film on the castle’s history before you begin exploring.
After that, take your time wandering about the ruins and enjoying the view. Who knows, maybe you’ll see something out there on the lake…
Fiddlers Restaurant located in the little town of Drumnadrochit is definitely worth a stop! The food and service were excellent!
Do keep in mind that the boats won’t operate if the conditions on the Loch aren’t optimal, so if there is any doubt consider calling ahead.